New Jersey is home to dozens of theaters, perhaps hundreds. We have massive movie theaters, art house gems, Broadway-style shows, cinema cafes and so much more. Everyone has a favorite, and while most are more than adequate, these theaters all offer something extra special. Please note that this isn’t a ranking, each theater is unique.
1. Hunterdon Hills Playhouse, Hampton
New Jersey's premier dinner theater, Hunterdon Hills Playhouse provides high quality live entertainment, delicious dining options, and an endless dessert buffet. A unique experience, this is truly a magical place.
2. AMC Dine-In Theaters, Bridgewater - Edison - West Orange
A new twist on dinner and a movie, have dinner AT the movies. You'll enjoy plush, spacious seating and classic American favorites. Seat-side service and a full bar add to the experience, and the milkshakes are just delightful. This is definitely something everyone should try at least once.
3. The Levoy Theatre, Millville
The Levoy Theatre has a rich history, beginning in 1908. Once host to popular vaudeville acts, film soon became a more prevalent medium. The theatre adapted and was eventually bought by Warner Brothers. Sadly, business began to decline in the 1950s and the theatre was closed in 1974. Reopened in 2012, the Levoy now hosts a wide range of shows. Upcoming performances include live bands, musical theater and stand-up comedy shows. Most interesting to me is Cirque Zuma Zuma, an entrancing African-style circus. Ticket prices vary but are very affordable.
4. State Theatre, New Brunswick
A popular entertainment venue, you'll find a wide selection of performances for every interest. Enjoy magic acts, family-friendly shows, musicals and much more.
5. Pax Amicus Castle Theatre, Budd Lake
The unique setting makes this theatre stand out, but being in a castle isn't its only draw. Enjoy spectacular performances and hilarious comedy events. Battle of the Sexes is sure to crack you up, and an ideal date for Valentine's Day weekend.
6. Princeton Garden Theatre, Princeton
This art house theatre features a variety of films from first run blockbuster hits to independent cinema, international films, and children's classics. The current lineup includes Joy starring Jennifer Lawrence and 1995 hit, Babe.
7. Cape May Stage, Cape May
Quaint theater, charming neighborhood, great shows. What more could you want? Be sure to check out the Dinner & A Show deals, in coordination with participating local restaurants.
8. The Showroom Cinema, Asbury Park
This local hot spot focuses on artistic films and is beloved by visitors for its comfortable atmosphere and varied concessions. Another joint with dinner and a movie deals, for $16 on Wednesdays, you can snag an adult admission and 2 tacos or 1 entree + drink at MOGO.
9. Paramount Theatre, Asbury Park
This historically significant performing arts venue was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. They have done much to revitalize the city and are a boardwalk staple. The Premier Theatre Company is the resident theatre company of the Paramount and has produced stars such as Jesse Eisenberg, who has had major roles in films including Zombieland and The Social Network.
10. Dunellen Cinema Cafe, Dunellen
This family-friendly theatre offers affordable tickets and delicious food. A local gem, its worth traveling for the party packages. $400 will get you a private showing for up to 20 guests, your name on the marquee, invitations, cake, and 1 popcorn, pizza slice and drink per guest. What an incredible deal!
11. New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark
One of the largest performing arts centers in the United States, NJPAC is home to the Grammy Award-winning New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. They offer a spectacular arts education program and incredible performances of all varieties. Enjoy dance, comedy, theater, musicals and more at the massive venue which has hosted millions of guests since its opening in 1997.
12. Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Madison
One of the nation's leading classical theatres, the Wall Street Journal named Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey "Company of the Year" in 2015. Now in its 52nd season, it is the longest-running Shakespeare theatre on the East Coast.
13. Robert's Chatham Cinema, Chatham
This single screen art house cinema offers free coffee, fewer previews, fantastic artwork and frozen yogurt. Tucked away in a strip mall, it's a hidden gem.
14. Delsea Drive-in Theatre, Vineland
I may have mentioned this theatre in previous posts, but that's only because it can't be missed. It's the last remaining drive-in theatre in New Jersey, offers great prices, double features, delicious concessions and a dose of nostalgia. Currently closed for the season, they reopen in the spring.
15. IMAX Theatre at Tropicana Casino, Atlantic City
The immersive 3D experience provided by an IMAX theatre is something everyone needs to enjoy at least once. Tropicana's IMAX Theatre offers unforgettable films and is currently playing Star Wars: The Force Awakens as well as an undersea adventure, Deep Sea 3D.
16. IMAX Theater at Liberty Science Center, Jersey City
Those in the North Jersey area can enjoy the world's largest IMAX dome theater. Located within the Liberty Science Center, programming is often centered around science, technology and nature. If you've always wanted to travel the world, you'll feel like you have after a visit here. Current shows allow you to dive with Humpback Whales, explore secluded caves, get up close with robots and see Antarctica like never before.
Of course, this list is just the beginning. Share your favorite theaters in New Jersey and let me know why you love them. I would like to do a part two to showcase more of the great theaters around our state, providing both live performances and spectacular cinematographic experiences.